In the last game of the regular season, the Kansas City Chiefs will face the San Diego Chargers at Arrowhead Stadium and both teams hope to make the playoffs. At 9-6, the Chargers are currently one of the two wild card teams from the AFC and sit one game ahead of the Chiefs. On the other hand, if Kansas City wins and gets some help from Jacksonville and Cleveland, they can slip into the playoffs as well. The Chargers are basically in the playoffs, but can clinch a playoff spot with a win or a tie plus a Ravens loss or tie.
The Chiefs and Chargers have played each other 109 times in their NFL history with the Chargers holding a slight edge at 55-53-1 overall. Prior to the Chiefs victory over the Chargers earlier this season, the Chargers had won the previous 4 matchups and 11 of the past 13 (granted, the Chiefs were playing mostly backups in their final game of the 2013 season against San Diego after the Chiefs had already clinched a playoff berth).
Head coach Andy Reid is 1-2 versus the Chargers as Chiefs head coach, and Alex Smith is 1-1 as the Chiefs QB against Philip Rivers. Four of the past 6 Chiefs’ opponents are in the playoffs (Pit, AZ, Denver, Seattle) and San Diego is basically a lock to make it again. That is a brutal second half NFL schedule which saw the Chiefs go from 7-2 and tied for the AFC West lead to 8-7 and on the outside looking in for the playoffs. Last season, 3 teams from the AFC West made the playoffs and the fact that there is a chance for a repeat indicates what a tough division it is.
For a few Chiefs players, this game is a chance to put their names in the record books:
- Justin Houston can break or tie Derrick Thomas’ single season sack record (20). Houston has 18.The Chargers have given up 30 sacks this season, which is 2 per game.
- The Chiefs WR’s can become the first in 50 years to go an entire season without catching a TD pass.
- If Dwayne Bowe has a monster game, he can surpass Otis Taylor for most receiving yards by a wide receiver in team history. He needs 182 yards.
- Jamaal Charles, who has 58 career TD’s (tied with Abner Haynes for 5th most in Chiefs history), can move up in the record books: 2 TD’s will tie him with Otis Taylor, 3 will tie him with Larry Johnson, and 4 will give him sole possession of 3rd place behind only Tony Gonzalez (76) and Priest Holmes (83).
- Alex Smith is on pace for the second highest completion rate in Chiefs history: he has currently completed 65.3% of his passes this season (Len Dawson has the highest for the Chiefs at 66.4%).
- Smith is only 49 passing yards from setting a new career best in that category. He is also on pace for his second-best QB rating ever (currently 93.4).
- If Knile Davis can return a kickoff for a TD, he will become the 3rd best in Chiefs history with 3 total.
There will be a lot to keep an eye on this Sunday when the Chiefs and Chargers take the field. It has been a long season and hopefully it ends on a positive note. As always, GO CHIEFS!